Unique Courses Explore Law’s Roots, New Frontiers
Cryptocurrency, barbarian law and statistical analysis will be among the topics discussed in courses offered at the University of Virginia School of Law in 2022. The following five new and returning courses for the January term and five new courses for the spring semester aim to give students different perspectives on the law.
Cryptocurrency Law and Policy, taught by Vice Dean Michael Gilbert and lecturer Abraham Sutherland, will examine what cryptocurrency is, why people demand it, and what advantages and disadvantages it has compared to conventional money. The instructors will also connect cryptocurrency to other legal topics. Gilbert, a law and economics expert, directs the Law School’s Center for Public Law and Political Economy. Sutherland is director of the project development company Saker Group, and his research interests include the regulation and taxation of cryptocurrency.
Economic Statecraft and Public International Law, taught by Professor Andrew Hayashi and lecturer Howie Wachtel, will examine the legal tools and frameworks available to U.S. government policymakers in dealing with threats from state and nonstate actors. Hayashi directs the Virginia Center for Tax Law, and Wachtel is director of global sanctions advisory and strategy at PayPal.
Students will study historical arguments for and against the Constitution and Bill of Rights in the seminar Founders and Foes, taught by federal appeals court Judges Andrew Oldham of the Fifth Circuit and Amul R. Thapar of the Sixth Circuit. “To understand the original debates you cannot read the Federalist Papers alone. Indeed, the Anti-Federalists are half of the story,” the course description says.
Taught by Professor Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, Title IX: The Law and Policy of Sex Discrimination in Education explores the discrimination that led to the passage of Title IX and focuses on current law and policy that governs athletics, sexual harassment and single-sex schools. Robinson is a member of the American Law Institute, editor of “A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy” and co-editor of “The Enduring Legacy of Rodriguez: Creating New Pathways to Equal Educational Opportunity.”
Truth, Lies and Statistics for Lawyers, taught by Professor Megan Stevenson, will cover the basics of statistical analysis as relevant to lawyers. (“Very little math will be used,” the course description says.) Topics will include the use of statistical arguments in the Harvard University discrimination case, bail reform, DNA forensics, labor discrimination and estimating voter fraud. Stevenson is an economist and criminal justice scholar who has conducted empirical research in various areas of criminal justice reform, including bail, algorithmic risk assessment, misdemeanors and juvenile justice.
Barbarian Law, taught by Professor Michael Doran, will examine the legal systems of Medieval Europe, such as the rules for using fixed payments to buy off a “blood feud,” ownership and transfer of property, and social status and familial obligations, and the procedures for deciding lawsuits, such as trial by ordeal, trial by compurgation and trial by combat. Doran teaches tax, property, legal ethics, Native American law and employee benefits law.
Taught by Professor David Law, Courts will apply an interdisciplinary, comparative and empirical perspective on the design and operation of courts as institutions, drawing on such approaches as political science, economics, sociology and anthropology. Law is an internationally recognized expert in the comparative study of public law and courts, a pioneer in the application of empirical social science methods to the study of legal texts, and one of the most cited law and social science scholars in the country.
Governing the World Seminar, taught by Professor Pierre-Hugues Verdier, will examine the role of international law and legal institutions in addressing policy concerns that transcend the boundaries of individual states. Theoretical perspectives will be drawn from jurisprudence, international relations theory and political philosophy. The author of “Global Banks on Trial: U.S. Prosecutions and the Remaking of International Finance,” Verdier’s current research focuses on the reception of international law in domestic legal systems, foreign state immunity and customary international law.
Professors Danielle Citron and Kristen Eichensehr will teach the Law and Technology Colloquium, in which a leading scholar will present a current legal research paper in the area of law and technology. Students will engage with peers, faculty and outside speakers and they exchange ideas and contribute to legal scholarship. Citron directs the LawTech Center, and Eichensehr directs the National Security Law Center.
New Frontiers in Neuroethics and Law, taught by Professors Richard Bonnie ’69 and Donna T. Chen, a psychiatrist, will bring medical and law students together to explore topical issues at the frontier of clinical care, law and ethics through multidisciplinary readings and in-depth discussions. Students will learn how other professionals think and will jointly assess challenges facing tomorrow’s health care system. Bonnie is director of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, and Chen is a member of the Center for Health Humanities and Ethics housed in the UVA School of Medicine.
Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.